LAS VEGAS — A computer mouse that dreamed of flying might evolve into something like the Leonar3Do"bird" that can control virtual environments in 3D.
The virtual reality system requires 3D glasses, the 3D bird controller and a screen equipped with three peripheral sensors. Such hardware has paved the way for newly-announced educational software under the Leonar3Do company's Vimensio brand — software that can train students to learn the names of organs in biology or model the solar system's planets.
"You could put this on any computer, any laptop and have a virtual workspace environment," said Roland Manyai, director of marketing, sales and business development for Leonar3Do.
The Leonar3Do technology works for more than just classroom education and games. Another company used the Vimensio software to make a driving practice simulator. A physician even used the technology to create a facial reconstruction program to plan for real-life surgeries.
A demo station at the Startup Debut event of CES 2013 allowed TechNewsDaily to play with a virtual sphere. The 3D glasses tracked changes in the view of the virtual environment whenever the wearer turned his or her head. [ Thomas Edison Hologram Hosts 'Gadget Graveyard' at CES ]
The bird controller has two buttons like a typical computer mouse. In the sphere demo, pressing the small button grabbed the entire sphere. Clicking the big button allowed for tunneling inside the sphere or creating new branches or arms extending outward from the sphere.
If the bird controller still sounds strange, Leonar3Do also announced a smartphone app that turns mobile devices into controllers as well. People who crave the virtual experience in a bigger setting can also use 3D TVs rather than their laptops.
Leonar3Do currently has two main flavors of its Vimensio software scheduled for sale in early 2013. The free Vimensio Play software is for people who want to use the 3D virtual programs available through a new online 3D app store. By comparison, the Vimensio Edit program starts at about $500 and comes in two flavors of its own for both non-programmers and people who know how to code.
The virtual reality hardware can cost about $550 in all, but a combined hardware and software package may run the price up to $1,500. Certain programs such as the driving simulator would be more expensive.
But the 3D fun does not have to remain in virtual reality. Any digital 3D models created through the Vimensio software could also become physical objects through 3D printers — devices that can build up objects layer-by-layer based on digital blueprints.